San Francisco Giants Trade Rumors: Latest Updates and Reaction
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The San Francisco Giants are now roughly a year and a half removed from their World Series win in 2010.
This season, the team is looking to go back to the Fall Classic, but things haven't exactly gone according to plan.
Tim Lincecum has not been himself this season, while Brian Wilson has been lost for the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery. As is their custom, the Giants rank towards the bottom of the league in runs scored.
Considering the circumstances, you wouldn't think that the Giants would be right in the thick of the NL West race, but they are. The postseason is within their reach. If they acquire some reinforcements at the trade deadline, their chances of playing in October will be even stronger.
However, that's the tricky part. General manager Brian Sabean will be active this deadline season, but there are no obvious answers to the Giants' various problems. Therefore, he's going to have to get creative.
The rumor mill is going to have much to say about the Giants in the weeks and days leading up to MLB's July 31 trade deadline. For all the latest rumors and reaction, check back here periodically for updates. The latest news will be right up front.
Giants Miss out on Jonathan Broxton
Jeff Golden/Getty Images
Posted: Tuesday, July 31 at 3:25 p.m. ET
The Giants have already made a major move on deadline day, picking up Hunter Pence from the Philadelphia Phillies.
That takes care of one major need. Now all Brian Sabean has to do is take care of the other major need: help for the club's bullpen.
The Giants definitely need Broxton more than the Reds do, who already have a solid bullpen and an elite closer in Aroldis Chapman. The Giants' bullpen needs depth, and it's apparent that they need a new closer. Or at least, another option to close games.
It became apparent on Monday night just how badly the Giants need relief help. Sergio Romo was touched up for four earned runs, and Santiago Casilla was touched up for two earned runs. Both of them were taken deep by Scott Hairston.
Broxton has 23 saves in 35 appearances this season, with a 2.27 ERA and a 6.3 K/9. He doesn't have the same stuff he used to, but he's developed into a better pure pitcher than he was in his glory days with the Dodgers.
Sabean has about a half hour to get something done.
UPDATE: Tuesday, July 31 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Never mind. Here's the latest from Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com:
Source: #Reds get Broxton.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 31, 2012
So much for that. We'll find out in the next 30 minutes if Sabean has a Plan B handy.
Giants Acquire Hunter Pence
Rich Schultz/Getty Images
Posted: Tuesday, July 31 at 12:30 p.m. ET
The Giants have reportedly agreed to a trade for Phillies outfielder Hunter Pence.
Yeah, yeah. We've heard this before, and it turned out to be nonsense.
This time, it's Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com who is reporting the news:
#SFGiants agree to acquire hunter pence— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 31, 2012
Assuming the deal is done, the Giants are getting the right-handed hitting outfielder they desperately needed. Pence's defense in right field will be an adventure, but his power will be a welcome addition to the middle of the lineup.
It became clear in the last few days that the Giants had to do something drastic in order to keep pace with the Dodgers. They acquired Hanley Ramirez last week, and on Tuesday they acquired Shane Victorino. They also added bullpen depth on Monday night when they acquired Brandon League.
The landscape of the NL West has changed drastically in the last week. The Dodgers have made their moves, and the Giants have responded. It's going to be a tight race to the finish.
Additional Update: Tuesday, July 31 at 12:35 p.m. ET
Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle says the deal isn't done yet:
Giants say there is "no deal" for Pence despite reports. Bobby Evans said club "working through many options."— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) July 31, 2012
DONE DEAL: Tuesday, July 31 at 2:15 p.m. ET
It's official. The Giants just passed along the good news via Twitter:
#SFGiants acquire 2-time All-Star Hunter Pence from Philadelphia in exchange for Nate Schierholtz, Tommy Joseph and Seth Rosen— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) July 31, 2012
In Joseph, a catcher, the Giants are giving up their best power-hitting prospect. However, they can afford to part with him because Buster Posey is one of the top catchers in the game and because Hector Sanchez has established himself as a solid backup.
Schierholtz can slide into the hole in right field in Philadelphia left by Pence's departure. Rosin (yes, with an I), has a 4.31 ERA in 34 appearances for Class-A San Jose this season.
In Pence, the Giants are getting a much-needed offensive upgrade. He'll play right field and slide into the middle of their lineup, most likely immediately behind Posey to help give him some protection.
Pence likely won't show off his home run stroke all that much in San Francisco, but the Giants needed a hitter with his kind of power for the No. 5 spot in their lineup.
The Giants will have to pay Pence quite a bit of money in arbitration this offseason, but the fact that he is indeed under control for one more season makes him worth the heavy price they paid in this trade.
Giants Still in on Hunter Pence
Sarah Glenn/Getty Images
Posted: Monday, July 30 at 1:50 p.m. ET
Late on Sunday night, a report came out that the Giants had a deal in place to acquire Hunter Pence from the Phillies.
That report was shot down almost immediately by a Giants official.
But this doesn't mean the Giants and Phillies aren't talking about Pence. According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, they are.
As noted by Heyman, this is a sign that the Giants are willing to spend in order to improve their team. They'll have to in Pence's case, as he's making $10.4 million this season and is in line for a pay raise in arbitration this winter.
All signs point towards the Giants making a move to acquire an outfielder at the deadline. Pence has to be at the top of their list of options because he's a right-handed hitter with power who can play the outfield. They have a need for him in right field, and he'd give the middle of their lineup some much-needed punch.
Pence will come at a high cost in terms of prospects, but the Giants can justify a move for him because of the fact that he's under club control through next season. Trading for Pence is not the same as trading for Carlos Beltran.
Plus, Brian Sabean has a little extra incentive to make a move after what happened over the weekend.
Additional Update: Monday, July 30 at 4:35 p.m. ET
Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle has heard from two sources that the Giants don't have a deal in place for Pence, nor are they anywhere close to having a deal in place. One of his sources said that the Phillies aren't that inclined to trade Pence in the first place.
But we'll see. A lot can change in the next 24 hours.
Additional Update No. 2: Tuesday, July 31 at 12:05 a.m. ET
ESPN's Jim Bowden has an update on Pence:
Giants continue to pursue Hunter Pence with Phillies but NOT close to a deal at this time and are NOT going to include Gary Brown PERIOD— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) July 31, 2012
Gary Brown is the Giants' best prospect, so it would seem that they have learned their lesson from last season's Carlos Beltran trade.
Alfonso Soriano Doesn't Want to Go to Giants
David Banks/Getty Images
Posted: Monday, July 30 at 11:30 p.m. ET
It's no secret by now that the Giants are looking for an outfielder, preferably a right-handed hitter who can play right field.
Alfonso Soriano has told Cubs he will not go to Giants in trade— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) July 31, 2012
The curious part of this is that I can't recall any rumors linking Soriano to the Giants.
This may be because they're not, and never were, interested in him. That strikes me as a reasonable explanation for a variety of reasons.
Soriano is a left fielder, and the Giants already have a pretty good one of those in the person of Melky Cabrera. The Giants also have limited financial wiggle room, which means they're not about to take on the $36-plus million remaining on Soriano's contract.
They'd probably gladly take him if the Cubs picked up the tab, but that's not happening. If the Cubs are going to do that, they're going to have to get something for him.
And if the Giants are like every other team, they're not going to surrender anything for Soriano.
Additional Update: Monday, July 30 at 11:45 p.m. ET
A Monday night report from Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com clears things up. Apparently, the Giants made inquiries about Soriano.
And that's it. They must not have inquired very hard, and it's water under the bridge now.
Giants Looking for Outfielder, Have Interest in Justin Morneau
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Posted: Monday, July 30 at 12:20 p.m. ET
The Giants are running out of time to make a move at the trade deadline, and you can rest assured that they're trying to make one after getting swept by the Dodgers this weekend.
It looks like they're not getting Hunter Pence (read the slide after this one), but ESPN's Buster Olney wrote that it would be a "shocker" if the Giants failed to add an outfielder ahead of the deadline.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com has also heard that the Giants are seeking outfield help. They've been tied to Pence and Shane Victorino and Heyman says they would be a fit for Corey Hart.
He's heard that they are also interested in Justin Morneau, who is having a decent bounce-back season in 2012. He would be an offensive upgrade over Brandon Belt at first base.
The problem with Morneau is that he has about $19 million left on his contract through next season. That makes him a better fit for a team like the Dodgers, who Heyman says are also interested in Morneau.
Brian Sabean is clearly looking at plenty of options, but the Giants are in a tough spot. They need a big bat, but they don't have a ton of young pieces to deal and their finances are somewhat restricted.
Sabean is going to have to get creative.
Giants Reportedly Have a Deal in Place for Hunter Pence
Rich Schultz/Getty Images
Posted: Monday, July 30 at 1:10 a.m. ET
It's looking like the Giants' sweep at the hands of the Dodgers this weekend inspired San Francisco's front office to take action.
Giants have a deal in place for Hunter Pence. Details to follow.— Dennis O'Donnell (@KPIXSPORTS) July 30, 2012
Granted, O'Donnell doesn't have much cred as a newsbreaker, but his report was noticed by Giants beat writer (and Jeopardy star) Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com.
Pence is hitting .268/.333/.444 this season with 17 home runs. The Phillies acquired him from the Houston Astros at last year's trade deadline.
This wouldn't be another Carlos Beltran deal, for the record. Pence is under club control through next season, though his price in arbitration promises to be pretty high.
Stay tuned for further updates.
DEBUNKED: Monday, July 30 at 1:20 a.m. ET
Here's this from Andrew Baggarly:
Giants VP Bobby Evans texts that there's "no truth to the rumor" the Giants have a deal in place for Pence.— Andrew Baggarly (@CSNBaggs) July 30, 2012
Welp, it was fun while it lasted.
And honestly, this was too good to be true. Pence is a questionable fit for the Giants, due to both his skillset and his upcoming arbitration payday. They're more likely to make a deal for Shane Victorino.
Not saying they will, of course. Nor am I saying they have a deal in place.
Latest on Giants' Bullpen Search
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Posted: Sunday at 11:50 p.m. ET
The Giants have been searching for bullpen help for weeks. They're running out of time to find some.
One guy who may or may not be coming to San Francisco in the near future is Seattle Mariners righty Brandon League. The Giants have been reported to be interested in League, and ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reported on Sunday that League is close to being traded:
The #Mariners are close to trading reliever Brandon League, say baseball sources. Location yet undetermined.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) July 29, 2012
Also on Sunday, Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com reported that the Giants and Mariners have definitely talked about League.
Also coming out on Sunday was this from Dave Cameron of FanGraphs:
Was just told Mariners are trying hard for Brandon Belt.Not sure if they have what SF wants, though.— David Cameron (@DCameronFG) July 29, 2012
...But only to an extent. The Giants aren't going to trade Belt for League straight up. No chance. They'd have to get something else besides a merely decent righty who's headed for free agency.
League isn't the only reliever the Giants have their eye on. ESPN's Jim Bowden says they are also interested in Jonathan Broxton:
According to a source the Giants have serious interest in Broxton (same type of source we usually use (ie. GM,AsstGM, MGR, Prez or owner))— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) July 29, 2012
This is slightly more interesting, as it wasn't that long ago that Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reported that the Giants didn't view Broxton as any kind of answer.
Perhaps their struggles against the Dodgers this weekend changed their mind.
Shane Victorino in Play for Giants
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Posted: Sunday, July 29 at 11:40 p.m. ET
The Giants just got swept by their biggest rivals to lose sole possession of first place in the NL West. At home, no less.
One wonders if the Giants' sweep will light a fire under Brian Sabean's posterior. If he chooses to make a big move, one guy the Giants could bring in is Shane Victorino.
According to ESPN's Jayson Stark, the market for Victorino is heating up and the Giants are very much interested:
Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com has also heard that the Victorino talks are starting to heat up.
The Giants have also been said to have an interest in Hunter Pence, but Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com has reported that Pence will "likely" be too pricey for the Giants. He could make as much as $15 million in arbitration.
Victorino is a free-agent-to-be, which makes his value on the trade market lower. It also helps that he's having a down year at the plate.
The bad news? The Dodgers are also interested in Victorino, and Salisbury said in his report that the Dodgers have been scouting the Phillies.
So the Giants may have to out-bid the Dodgers for Victorino. If it comes to that, it's hard to imagine Sabean being the more aggressive bidder.
Something Brewing Between Giants and Rockies?
Is Rafael Betancourt on the Giants' radar?
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Posted: Friday, July 27 at 1:55 a.m. ET
The Dodgers went out and acquired Hanley Ramirez earlier this week, putting pressure on the Giants to respond with a move of their own.
The Giants may respond by plucking a player or two from a division rival.
Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle came through with the latest rumblings on Twitter. Here's the first of three key tweets:
Don't be surprised if the Giants and Rockies make a deal. Colorado has scouted Fresno and Richmond recently. As I reported the other day...— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) July 27, 2012
And the second:
… the Giants asked about Marco Scutaro for bench help a couple of weeks back. RH relievers Rafael Betancourt and Matt Belisle also could...— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) July 27, 2012
And the third:
….be a fit. Belisle is a better pitcher, but Betancourt is more available. And no, I have not heard Cuddyer's name.— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) July 27, 2012
Scutaro and Betancourt do indeed make sense as targets for the Giants. Scutaro is a right-handed bat who can fill in at shortstop and second base, but he also has experience playing all over the infield from his days in Oakland and Toronto. Betancourt is one of the top righty relievers in baseball.
Between the two, I'd say the Giants could use Betancourt more. They need a late-inning reliever, and Betancourt has made his living pitching very well in the later innings for years. This year, he already has a career-high 17 saves.
Either way, just don't expect the Giants to do anything major. It still sounds like Brian Sabean is playing it cool this year.
Additional Update: Friday, July 27 at 11:45 p.m. ET
It's official. The Rockies say so:
Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) July 28, 2012
The Giants get the infielder they needed at a reasonable price. Well done.
Giants Looking at Scott Hairston
Mike Stobe/Getty Images
Posted: Friday, July 27 at 9:25 p.m. ET
The Giants have been rumored to be searching for a right-handed hitting outfielder. They've been linked to Hunter Pence, but they may have their sights set a little lower.
Heard the Giants and Braves have inquired about availability of Scott Hairston. Mets still not looking to deal him, though.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughSL) July 27, 2012
It may be just a matter of time before the Mets are willing to trade Hairston. They've fallen under .500 and have dropped 11.5 games behind the Nationals in the NL East.
Hairston has value out on the trade market. He's hitting .259 with 12 home runs in somewhat limited action.
The Giants are probably looking at Hairston as a guy who they could use in right field as part of a left/right platoon with Nate Schierholtz and Gregor Blanco. His power would be a welcome addition.
Hunter Pence a Possibility for Giants
Rich Schultz/Getty Images
Posted: Friday, July 27 at 4:20 p.m. ET
The Giants could use some more production out of their outfield, specifically out of right field.
Pence is hitting .267/.334/.447 this season with 17 home runs. The Phillies acquired him in a deadline trade with the Houston Astros last season.
There's a good chance the Phillies will make him available. After signing Cole Hamels to a huge extension earlier this week, the Phillies need to cut payroll for the 2013 season, lest they go over the $189 million luxury tax threshold.
Pence is appealing to the Giants because he wouldn't be a rental. He has one more year of arbitration eligibility left.
The downside is that the extra year of controllability ups Pence's value significantly. The Giants may not have enough pieces to go get him.
Add Brandon League to Giants' List of Relief Options
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Posted: Friday, July 27 at 4:15 p.m. ET
The Giants' search for a reliever is rolling right along, and we can add a new target to the list.
League was removed as Seattle's closer several weeks ago, but he's having a solid season all the same. Through 43 games, he has a 2.98 ERA.
The issue with League is that his control can be erratic. He's walking 3.8 batters per nine innings this year, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio checks in at 1.39.
He wouldn't be much of an upgrade. Presumably, Sabean is targeting him because League would come cheap.
Giants Not Impressed with Bullpen Options
Mark Hirsch/Getty Images
Posted: Wednesday, July 25 at 7:00 p.m. ET
There's pressure on the Giants to make a move at the trade deadline now that the Dodgers have added Hanley Ramirez, but it's still as doubtful as ever that they'll do something big.
They're apparently still looking to add a piece to their bullpen, though. The only problem is that they're not impressed with two pitchers who were widely considered to be options for the Giants.
Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reported the latest:
Giants still looking for bullpen help. Had some interest in K-Rod...until they saw him the other day. And they don't see Broxton as answer.— DKnobler (@DKnobler) July 25, 2012
It's understandable that they want nothing to do with Francisco Rodriguez. He's blown each of his last two save attempts, and his ERA is approaching 5.00 for the season.
Broxton has been better, but the Giants may not be willing to pay the price for him.
The most intriguing option on their radar is probably still Indians closer Chris Perez, who has been very good for an Indians team that's not going anywhere.
The Giants have six days to figure things out.
Giants Eye Chris Perez
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Posted: Monday, July 23 at 1:00 p.m. ET
The Giants have been rumored to be looking for bullpen help at the trade deadline, and now we can add a new name to the list of relievers they may be interested in.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, the Giants are interested in Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez, who is third in the American League with 26 saves. He boasts a 3.06 ERA and has struck out 41 batters in 35.1 innings.
The question here is whether the Indians have any interest in selling at the deadline. Seeing as how they've lost seven of 10 and have fallen 4.5 games out of first in the AL Central, they probably should be willing to sell at the deadline. With the Detroit Tigers coming alive in recent weeks, the writing is on the wall that the division is a lost cause.
Perez has value on the trade market because he's proven over the last two-plus seasons that he's one of the top relievers in the league, and because he has another year of arbitration eligibility left. His price tag is going to go up after this season to about $7 million, according to Rosenthal.
Because Perez wouldn't be a rental player, he's going to come at a higher price in a trade than free-agents-to-be like Jonathan Broxton and Francisco Rodriguez. The question the Giants have to ask themselves is whether they're willing to pay that price seeing as how Brian Wilson should be back healthy next season.
One thing that's for sure is that the Giants could certainly use another late-innings option in their bullpen. Sergio Romo is as good as they come, but Santiago Casilla has been shaky. Beyond those two, the Giants' bullpen is essentially a collection of specialists.
Perez would probably like it in San Francisco, if for no other reason than the fact that the fans tend to show up in droves.
Jonathan Broxton a Possibility for the Giants
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Posted: Sunday, July 21 at 1:05 p.m. ET
The Giants have been forced to tough it out without Brian Wilson this season, and his absence has started to catch up with them in recent weeks.
It's been reported by various insiders that the Giants are on the lookout for bullpen help at the trade deadline. On Sunday, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com floated a name that the Giants know well:
Giants also looking for bullpen help. Broxton could be a possibility for them.— DKnobler (@DKnobler) July 21, 2012
Broxton is due to become a free agent at the end of the season, so the Royals won't be able to demand an arm and a leg for Broxton if they open up trade discussions with the Giants.
It's just a question of how desperate the Giants are to acquire bullpen help. They have a starting staff capable of eating a lot of innings, so they may not be too desperate to pay the price for a top reliever like Broxton.
Giants Scout James Shields
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Posted: Friday, July 20 at 9:55 p.m. ET
Though Tim Lincecum has been a major disappointment this season and nobody can ever rest easy when Barry Zito is on the mound, finding a starting pitcher wouldn't seem to be a priority for the Giants at the trade deadline.
Then again, maybe not.
According to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com, the Giants were one of several teams that scouted Tampa Bay Rays righty James Shields on Friday night. He went 7.2 innings, allowing three earned while striking out 10 against the Seattle Mariners. He only gave up four hits, marking the first time since June 23 that Shields gave up fewer than 10 hits in an outing.
This is probably a case of the Giants just doing their due diligence. The Giants' starting rotation isn't really in need of a shakeup, especially not seeing as how Lincecum pitched well once again on Friday night.
So don't read too much into this. It's doubtful that the Giants will make a deal for Shields.
Could the Giants Trade for a Third Baseman? How About a Closer?
Pablo Sandoval moved across the diamond to play first base on Thursday.
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
Posted: Thursday, July 19 at 8:50 p.m. ET
There's not much to report on the trade deadline front as far as the Giants are concerned. Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com wrote on Thursday that the Giants are "not close" to making any trades.
However, some of the other stuff he wrote is pretty interesting.
It's been noted that the Giants could use some offense, but the problem is where they need said offense. The Giants are pretty well set at every position on the field.
Things could change if Bruce Bochy and the Giants' coaching staff decide to play Pablo Sandoval at first base more often. He played there for the first time all season on Thursday, and Baggarly says that Bochy and his staff are going to discuss the idea of playing Sandoval at first more often.
If that's the route they choose to pursue, Brandon Belt would move to the bench and the Giants would suddenly lack offense at the hot corner. That's a need they could fill via a trade.
Just an idea.
Baggarly also noted that the price for Jonathan Broxton is a little too high for the Giants' taste right now, but that they will be interested in Broxton if the Kansas City Royals drop his price tag.
The Giants could use a pitcher like Broxton, who is enjoying a nice-bounce back campaign after a lost season in 2011. They were able to get along just fine without Brian Wilson for a while there, but Santiago Casilla's recent struggles have put the Giants' closer situation in flux.
Still, it doesn't sound Brian Sabean has anything drastic in mind. He could end up just standing pat at the deadline.
Nate Schierholtz Is Not a Happy Camper
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Posted: Wednesday, July 18 at 11:50 p.m. ET
Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com suggested (just keep reading this slideshow) a couple weeks ago that the Giants could trade Nate Schierholtz at some point in the next couple of weeks. He's an outfielder with some value, and he's become expendable because of his recent lack of playing time.
According to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, Schierholtz is well aware of the reality of the situation. He doesn't think there's a future for him with the Giants:
There's no place I'd rather play than here. It's where I grew up. It's home to me. I love the fans. I love the city. There's not one thing I can't say I love about this place, but I think I've come to the realization that maybe I'm not their guy. I'm not in the cards having a future here.
Schierholtz revealed that Bruce Bochy told him back in May that he doesn't view him as an everyday player. Schierholtz indicated that he feels slighted by his reduced role.
"We're all in this to win," he said, "but I'm as competitive as anyone. I came in with the expectation to play maybe a little bit more than we've seen. A weeklong slump kept me back on the bench for a couple more months."
Starts have been hard to come by for Schierholtz. Since June 12, Schulman noted that Schierholtz has started just 14 games.
Schierholtz has a legit gripe, and it makes sense for the Giants to at least see what they can get for him. They've been reported to be on the lookout for relief help, and it's not out of the realm of possibility that they could find a team willing to give up a reliever for an outfielder.
The tricky part is that the Giants don't have a ton of outfield depth beyond Schierholtz, so they may be inclined to just hang on to him and withhold the status quo.
No Wheeler-for-Beltran Deals This Year
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Posted: Wednesday, July 18 at 4:15 p.m. ET
Last season, the Giants traded top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler to the Mets for Carlos Beltran. The hope was that his bat would give their sagging offense a boost.
The trade did not have the desired effect. The Giants were in first place on the day the trade was finalized (July 28), but they soon fell behind the Arizona Diamondbacks and stayed behind them for the rest of the season.
Last week, Brian Sabean admitted publicly (just keep reading this slideshow) that he's not going to make a similar trade this season. He apparently learned his lesson about trading top prospects for rental players.
For what it's worth, ESPN's Jim Bowden has heard that Sabean is staying true to his word behind the scenes. He's heard that the Giants have "no plans on making another Zack Wheeler for Carlos Beltran type of deal at this year’s deadline."
The Giants are looking for bats, though, and Bowden singled out Gregor Blanco and Brandon Belt as two players who "haven't provided the punch the Giants need."
Belt, however, does have an .829 OPS since the start of June, according to Baseball-Reference.com.
With the Giants opening up a three-game lead over the struggling Dodgers in the NL West, this is shaping up to be a quiet deadline in San Francisco.
Giants on the Prowl for Bullpen Help
Santiago Casilla has had a hard time filling in for Brian Wilson.
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Posted: Tuesday, July 17 at 1:30 p.m. ET
Surprise, surprise. The Giants are on the lookout for relief pitchers.
This is according to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, who rightfully points out that it is "hardly a surprise" that the Giants are looking for bullpen help. They've been without Brian Wilson for pretty much the entire season, and their relievers rank towards the bottom of the National League in strikeout rate.
To boot, Santiago Casilla has struggled in the closer's role in recent weeks. Since June 24, he's blown four saves and has seen his ERA rise a full run from 1.91 to 2.91.
Even still, it's doubtful that Brian Sabean will make an all-out push for a new closer. He's probably looking for depth, preferably a strikeout specialist he could throw in the late-game mix with Casilla and the underrated Sergio Romo.
Beyond relief help, the Giants don't need much. They don't have much in the way of offensive firepower, but they have solid starters at every position on the diamond. Their starting rotation is pretty well set, and it's going to be elite if Tim Lincecum pitches like he did against the Houston Astros in his first post-break start.
And at the moment, the Giants are sitting on a two-game lead over the Dodgers in the NL West. You can rest assured that the Dodgers are far more desperate than the Giants are to shake things up at the deadline.
The Giants can win the division with what they have. An extra reliever, however, couldn't hurt.
Giants Have Scouted Shane Victorino
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images
Posted: Monday, July 16 at 2:50 p.m. ET
If there's one area the Giants don't appear to need any help, it's in their outfield. Melky Cabrera, Angel Pagan and Gregor Blanco have done a fine job this season.
That's all Morosi's report has to offer, so it's unclear whether or not the Giants are actually interested in Victorino or if they were simply doing their due diligence in scouting him.
Probably the latter. Victorino is having a rough season, but he wouldn't come cheap in terms of prospects. The tricky part about that is that Victorino is a free agent at the end of the season, making him a rental player.
And if you see the slide after this one, you'll see that Sabean has already admitted publicly that he's not interested in dealing for a rental player like he did last season with Carlos Beltran.
It could be that the Giants decided to scout Victorino to get a read on whether or not he'd be worth signing as a free agent this offseason, which could very well come to pass if they can't re-sign Cabrera.
Either way, a trade appears to be unlikely.
Brian Sabean Opens Up About Giants' Needs
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Posted: Tuesday, July 10 at 9:30 p.m. ET
The Giants are having an easier time scoring runs this season than they did in 2011, but there's no denying that they could stand to add some offense.
Shoot, not even Brian Sabean could deny that. He admitted that the Giants could use some offense to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle:
I’m not sure enough we have enough [offense]. But having said that, I don’t know where there would be a significant upgrade. In a perfect world we’d like to have more power, and I don’t know if that exists.
The word is that Sabean has spoken to 15 teams about precisely 25 players, a group made up of both hitters and pitchers. He's keeping his options open, but one thing he won't do this year is give up a significant package of prospects for a rental player, as he did last year to get Carlos Beltran.
The problem with adding offense is that there are few glaring holes in San Francisco's lineup. The outfield is solid, and Sabean likes Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford. It's not like the team desperately needs a new starter at any one position.
For what it's worth, Sabean is still not looking for a starting pitcher. Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito aren't about to be replaced.
This pretty much leaves the bullpen and the bench as Sabean's top targets for improvement, all the more reason why a big move is not on the horizon.
So if you're a Giants fan waiting for a big move to be made, don't hold your breath. Sabean is looking around, but he's looking to tinker with things more than he is to shake things up.
Nate Schierholtz on the Block?
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Posted: Friday, July 6 at 1:40 p.m. ET
Nate Schierholtz was a useful player between 2009 and 2011, hitting .264 with 17 home runs and 87 RBI through 368 games. He also pitched in with some solid defense out in right field.
Playing time has been much harder to come by for Schierholtz this season, and that has a lot to do with Gregor Blanco. He's established himself as a steady presence in both right field and in Bruce Bochy's leadoff spot, so there's very little incentive to take him out of the lineup to accommodate Schierholtz.
Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com thinks this could make Schierholtz expendable. In an article published on July 2, he wrote that Schierholtz is "the kind of player who figures to draw interest at the deadline" because of his loss of playing time and because of the fact that he's out of options.
Trading Schierholtz would make a pretty tiny blip on the radar, but he's the kind of player the Giants could swing for relief help if they were so inclined. With Santiago Casilla struggling in the closer's role, it's only becoming more and more apparent that relief help is needed. Brian Wilson is not walking through that door.
Letting go of Schierholtz will be easier said than done, however. The Giants have a good starting outfield, but they don't have much depth beyond Schierholtz. That's something that could easily come back to bite the Giants if they were to deal him.
Besides, the locals would hate to see him go. Schierholtz is a Bay Area guy and a product of San Ramon Valley High School in the East Bay.
So is your humble narrator, for the record.
The Problem with Seeking Offensive Help Is...
There are much better hitters out there than Brandon Crawford, but his defense at shortstop is a valuable asset.
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Posted: Friday, July 6 at 1:40 p.m. ET
Just like last year, the Giants could stand to add an impact bat at the trade deadline in 2012. They presently rank 23rd in baseball in runs scored and 25th in team slugging percentage.
Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com addressed the subject of the Giants' hitting woes in a video posted in late June, and he was quick to point out the fundamental problem facing the team when it comes to adding a bat at the deadline.
Where would they put said bat?
The Giants are a pitching and defense team, and adding a bat could compromise the defensive half of the equation.
A better hitting shortstop than Brandon Crawford would be nice, but he's a slick fielder who would very much be missed by Giants pitchers.
Ryan Theriot is also a decent fielder (not great, but decent), and he's actually come around at the plate since the start of June. Per Baseball-Reference.com, Theriot is hitting .317 over his last 30 games.
Therefore, don't expect the Giants to actively seek an impact bat like they did last year, when they ultimately acquired Carlos Beltran in an ill-fated trade with the Mets.
More offense is needed in San Francisco, but there's nowhere to put it.
No Starting Pitching Help Incoming?
The Giants may have no choice but to stick with Big Time Timmy Jim for the rest of the season.
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Posted: Friday, July 6 at 1:40 p.m. ET
Tim Lincecum has been a disaster this season, and nobody in or around the Giants organization is able to rest easy when Barry Zito is on the mound. The two of them are weak links, and there's no guarantee that either of them will be able to pull their weight in the second half of the 2012 season.
Having said that, don't expect the Giants to make a deal for a starting pitcher. In late June, Brian Sabean went on record saying he's not trying to make a deal for a starter.
Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle recapped the key points made by Sabean. Here's part one:
Two things Sabean said on Chron Live: 1) He doesn't expect to deal for a starter. 2a) has not started talks with Melky and 2b) doesn't see..— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) June 22, 2012
And part two:
...$85 million Ethier deal as a template for Melky because of different skill sets.— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) June 22, 2012
It's been a couple of weeks since Sabean made these comments, and not a whole lot has changed where the team's starting rotation is concerned.
Zito has pitched well in his last couple of starts, but there's no telling when he's going to get lit up for six runs or so on a given day. "Reliable" is not a good word to describe him.
Unfortunately, the Giants are stuck with the two of them. Zito would be a minimal upgrade for a bullpen that could use an upgrade, and Lincecum has never pitched out of the pen. The Giants don't really have a choice but to keep them in the rotation and hope that things work out.